The New York Times featured an article about the decline of greyhound racing, though not due to the tireless efforts of animal welfare groups. It should come as no surprise that money, not social responsibility, is bringing about change in this archaic pastime.
Noticing a shift in gambling habits, many track owners throughout the country lobbied their states to add slot machines and poker tables to their existing operations with the provision that a portion of the profits would subsidize the dog racing. Now the writing is on the wall: indoor gaming has trumped dog racing in popularity and profits, so the track owners are now hoping to buy their way out of the race tracks while keeping the gaming tables open.
It’s a bittersweet win for greyhound activists. After years of battling track operators they find themselves working side-by-side with many of their former adversaries, though they’re coming at the issue from opposite ends of the spectrum: one side concerned with the treatment of the dogs, while the other more focused on the bottom line. No matter the reason, ending dog racing would be a win for all.
The last line of the article struck me. A 28-year old, quoted as a modern voice of gambling, stated, “You really have to pay attention to the background and history of the dogs,” he said. “That’s a lot of work to do. You won’t see very many guys my age up there. ”
It’s a commentary on the state of the industry, certainly, but also an allusion to the plight of the dogs. If the current lives of the racing greyhounds were considered instead of their history, racing would’ve ended long ago.